Bake

Epic Single Crust Apple Pie

August 17, 2021
4.6 Stars
Photo by Ren Fuller
Author Notes

This single crust apple pie, is amazing because it needs no lattice, no top crust—no finishing on the surface at all! It’s stunning all by itself due to some thoughtful (but not difficult—I swear!) arrangement of apples. Best of all, it tastes amazing, the texture of the apples is the perfect combination of soft with a little crispness, and they get a sort of roasty flavor from being uncovered during their bake time. It’s truly a stunner all on its own, and very easy to recreate.

Featured in: Two Sweet, Flaky Pies That Are Too Pretty to Eat (Like That Would Stop Us). Process shots live there! —Erin Jeanne McDowell

Test Kitchen Notes

This is a showstopper of an apple pie that is far easier to make than it looks. You'll make it for every Thanksgiving from now on. Erin walks you through it step by step and gives some of her best tips for making this pie as beautiful as possible, which she expands upon in her article: "You begin by slicing the apples super thin, then sweeten and season them with spices. I do the slicing by hand, but you can certainly bring in the help of a mandolin or the slicing attachment of a food processor. It also doesn’t need to be insanely thin—just as thin as you can comfortably go. The thinner the slices are, the easier it is to get them to create the final shape.

"I stand by my tried and true method: After peeling, I cut the apple in quarters. Then, with my knife at a 45-degree angle, I cut the core out of the apple, leaving a flat surface where the core was removed. With this flat surface, it’s easier to cut the apples thinly. Then, I sweeten the apples with brown sugar and season them with the typical pie spices. After they’ve been tossed, I arrange the apples in the par-baked pie crust. I do it in a rosette, but anything really goes: concentric circles, a spiral, even 'stripes' of the apples, all fanned out. Or, you can totally dump the thin slices right in the center and leave it at that—it will taste just as good." —The Editors

Watch This Recipe
Epic Single Crust Apple Pie
  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Makes 1 (9-inch) pie
Ingredients
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1 recipe All Buttah Pie Dough (https://food52.com/recipes...)
  • 2 pounds Honeycrisp apples, peeled (907 grams)
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar (53 grams)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (50 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (11 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (3 g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (2 g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (2 g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (1 g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (1 g)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (28 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons boiled cider (available from King Arthur Flour—optional but VERY good here!) (32 grams)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Lightly flour a work surface. Roll out the dough into a circle ¼ inch thick. Roll the dough up onto the rolling pin, starting at the far edge of the round. With the pie pan in front of you, start at the edge closest to you and gently unfurl the dough into the pan. Press gently to make sure the crust settles all the way to the bottom, but be careful not to poke any holes in the dough. Trim away the excess dough, leaving a ½-inch overhang all around. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes, or freeze for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Tuck the excess dough under at the edges, pressing lightly to help “seal” the dough to the outer rim of the pie pan. Return the dough to the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes or to the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes. Crimp the edges of the dough as desired.
  3. Heat the oven to 425°F, preferably with a baking stone on the bottom rack. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Cut a square of parchment slightly larger than the pie pan. Place the parchment over the crust and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the crust on the stone or bottom rack for 15 to 20 minutes, just until the edges barely begin to turn golden.
  4. Remove the parchment and weights and return the pan to the oven for another 2 to 4 minutes, just until slightly more golden around the edges and the base looks dry. Let cool completely.
  5. Using a sharp knife, quarter the apples, then core each quarter individually by laying it on the cutting board on one of its cut sides, holding the knife at a 45-degree angle and cutting out the core in a single motion. The apples then have a flat base (where the core was), so they can lie flat on the cutting board, which makes it easier to slice them thinly. Cut into slices about ¼ inch thick.
  6. In a large bowl, stir the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg to combine. Add the apples and toss well to combine.
  7. Starting on the outer edge of the pie crust, arrange the apple slices in a tight spiral—the pieces should be overlapping each other by about three-quarters of the way. Continue the tight spiral inward. Place the final pieces in a circle to create the center of the rosette look.
  8. Drizzle any of the juices from the bowl over the apples. In a small bowl, stir the butter and cider (if using), then brush evenly over the apples.
  9. Transfer to the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 425°F, and continue to bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the crust is deeply golden and the apples are tender.
  10. Let cool completely (or at least 20 minutes) before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Amber Thorpe
    Amber Thorpe
  • Debbie McDaniel
    Debbie McDaniel
  • Nc
    Nc
  • Elaine
    Elaine
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, The Book on Pie, came out on November 10th, 2020, and my pie merch collaboration with Food52 is out now too: https://food52.com/shop/merchants/manifest-food52/food52-x-erin-mcdowell

6 Reviews

Nc November 6, 2021
In your apple pie recipe, you parbake the crust at 425°
Then, once filled, it says reduce temperature to 425°.

Should the parbake be hotter?
 
Amber T. March 3, 2019
We had some friends over for dinner and I made this pie and it was a big hit! The whole thing was consumed in just a few minutes. I was very pleasantly surprised with the softness of the apples and the lightness of the pie. I've never made an apple pie like this before, and I will definitely be making it again.
 
Elaine December 1, 2017
My husband told me this was the best apple pie he had ever eaten! He ate every last bit. I didn't have King Arthur boiled cider on hand when I wanted to make this, but I did have some organic apple juice. So I boiled the apple juice down to make a reduction and added just a splash of balsamic vinegar. I then used that combo in place of the boiled cider. It worked! The pie had a wonderful flavor!
 
Debbie M. November 23, 2017
do you bake the filled pie on the baking stone on the bottom rack, too?
 
Emma November 19, 2017
Thus was a gorgeous and impressive dessert to top off a lovely Friendsgiving. Used 1/2 the sugar and Granny Smiths and served with bourbon whipped cream--perfect!
 
Margaret November 13, 2017
So if I read the recipe correctly it's a shallow pie, with one layer of apples, almost like a tart, yes?